It’s becoming more common for job seekers to discover that they have little or none of the experience they need to apply for a job: Fresh graduates with many hours of education behind them, but no hands-on history in the field; or moms ready to re-enter the work force who find that their work experience is too outdated.
In these instances, the goal is to build a resume that focuses on your strengths, while using other tactics to find a way into your chosen career field.
Make your skills shine
If you have no way of gaining necessary experience for your intended position, but have the skills it requires, Investopedia’s Financial Edge recommends setting up your resume so your skills are the main focus. List your skill set and be creative. Are you a forward thinker? Do you successfully step into leadership positions? These are the types of strengths that can be translated into valuable job skills. As you do this, remember that not all work experience comes from the office. The stay-at-home-mom who successfully runs the local PTA has experience in leadership. The student who was the editor for the school newspaper has experience in managing a publication. Such experience can also be translated into relevant work experience in a resume, even if the positions weren’t paid.
Consider an internship
Internships can offer not only valuable work experience for your resume, but also a networking inroad into the industry. Some new workers avoid internships because they either pay poorly or not at all, but they are one of the most effective options for getting the skills you need for a strong resume. Many internships are paid, and companies looking for interns accept that their interns will be relatively inexperienced in the field.
Pursue further education
While your resume is already filled with grades and degrees, sometimes adding a graduate degree or further training in the field is the boost you need to push it to the top of the pile. Online education provides a flexible option for those who are eager to start their careers while still continuing their education.
Start networking now
Can you get a lunch date with a leader in your industry? If so, take it; then, concentrate on learning as much you can. Also, use this meeting as a chance to showcase your skills and ask for tips on finding internships and other work experience. These types of network connections can turn into references to attach to your resume.
Structure your resume well
Your lack of work experience may not be as obvious if you structure the resume properly. Your most important assets need to be listed first. You can do this by adding a “Qualifications Summary” after your objective and education to showcase your skills. Add a section for pre-professional qualifications where you can list all of the volunteer work you have completed. A resume with no job experience can be a difficult hurdle to overcome, but it is not impossible. By being creative in writing your resume and drawing on the skills you do have, you can build a resume that will draw attention to your potential.
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